Leading from the Inside Out

Virtual Lunch - Leading from the Inside Out

This is the time when leaders will emerge.

Our industry is being put to the test – we’re all being put to the test. But as our guest, Heather Hansen O’Neill says, what happens next depends on how we choose to show up in the world.

So listen in to the rebroadcast of this week’s Virtual Lunch interview to hear Heather’s insights on how to:

  • Collaborate to move forward
  • Become a beacon of light for clients and prospects
  • Build bridges to your desired goals

Here are links to some of the things mentioned in the interview:

About Heather Hansen O’Neill:

Heather Hansen O'Neill
Heather Hansen O’Neill

As an award-winning speaker and author who fires up organizations and corporations on leadership, team development, and change management, Heather has helped clients from entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies improve their relationships and lead more effectively. She has helped her clients create deeper more meaningful relationships in sales and customer service resulting in increased customer loyalty and overall profit. In addition, the work she does to enhance understanding within and between departments has shown a better flow of productivity as well as higher ratings in employee satisfaction.

You can connect with Heather on LinkedIn or through her website, or request the free tips list she mentioned here.


[00:00:00.490] - Marlys Arnold

You're listening to the Trade Show Insights podcast, Season 15, Episode 10.

[00:00:19.640] - Marlys Arnold

I'm your host and exhibit marketing strategist, Marlys Arnold, bringing you tools to improve your exhibit results on today's episode, brought to you by the Exhibit Marketers Cafe, we're once again rebroadcasting an episode of virtual lunch, this time with Heather Hansen O'Neill talking about leading from the inside out.

[00:01:02.150] - Marlys Arnold

I wanted to just share a quick quote with you, The successful person makes a habit of doing what the failing person doesn't like to do, and you can substitute out the word leader for successful person that a leader does with the failing person doesn't like to do. So, with that, I'm going to introduce our guest for today, Heather Hansen O'Neill. And I got to meet Heather, I guess you could say, meet in the virtual world at one of the many virtual conferences I attended this spring.

[00:01:34.970] - Marlys Arnold

And I was very impressed with what she had to say. And as I got to thinking about bringing on guests for virtual lunch, I thought, you know, this is a very important topic. And Heather has spent the last 18 years firing up organizations on leadership development and change management. She's the author of Find Your Fire. And her clients have ranged from entrepreneurs to Fortune one hundred companies, and she helps them all lead more effectively, and that results in increased customer loyalty and better flow of productivity.

[00:02:07.910] - Marlys Arnold

So, Heather Hansen O'Neill, welcome to Virtual Lunch. Welcome to the Cafe.

[00:02:12.740] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Thank you Marlys. This is fantastic. I appreciate you inviting me on today.

[00:02:16.880] - Marlys Arnold

Oh, you're welcome. Well, let's start out. I know we we use the title for this episode of Leading from the Inside Out. I just love that terminology that you use. So explain to us what you mean by that.

[00:02:31.160] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Oh, I would be happy to. You see, I feel like in today's world especially, you know, you let everyone in on my secret that I have had my business for a long time, like what has happened throughout those 18, 19 years. But in today's environment, more than ever, there's this feeling of external things that are happening to us that impact our state and alter our habits, our patterns, how we move forward and interact in the world.

[00:03:05.030] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

And so leading from the inside out is a, a reminder of how we can be successful, and that is coming back to who we are, what we control and how we choose to show up in the world, and that's where I come from on this. And I believe that you saw that I actually for those of you out there who are afraid that maybe we're not doing live events, I did a live event of this topic leading change from the inside out last Thursday, and that was a great success.

[00:03:40.890] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

So baby steps, we're taking little ones with small audiences now so that we can come back to where we want to be in the world.

[00:03:51.540] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and that's true. I didn't mention that part where you did do a face to face event. You did it outdoors. Correct. So the weather cooperated. You had a wonderful evening, you said.

[00:04:03.090] - Heather Hansen O'Neill


[00:04:03.330] - Marlys Arnold

Which you never know what you're going to get in August, right?

[00:04:05.640] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

No, you never know. But you know what? You can kind of say that about anything these days, can't you? You never know what's going to come up. So that's why we have to be flexible and focus on what we can control.

[00:04:15.930] - Marlys Arnold

Right. Right. So and you as you said, you've spent a lot of time in the events industry. So you know how we're all feeling right now. I mean, we're just we're struggling we're, you know, our our industry has basically evaporated and we're trying to figure out how to lead the way forward. It's really literally the blind leading the blind. Nobody knows where this is going. But talk a little bit about that. How how have you been working with people and helping people during this time?

[00:04:46.630] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

OK, well, there's a couple of answers to this, so I have been very passionate about the event industry and I realized actually last year before any of this came about, when I was running an event and half of my attendees were meeting planners and I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, I really need to start focusing on these folks more. So I I've been doing a lot of content for meeting pros, not just planners, but anyone in the industry. And it just so happens that now with everything going on, I'm really, really glad I did. And I I've been serving people who have been in this industry for such a long time, are are so passionate about the industry and wanting to continue doing it, but don't know what to do right now. There is this element of uncertainty all around us. What do we do? Were do we go, I thought we were going to be able to go back to it.

[00:05:45.040] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Now we've got to wait longer and now we've got to do this. And how do we keep people safe? How do we grow our businesses? And so I have been really focusing on having conversations with the industry. I created a group called The Phoenix, which is to is a community that helps specifically meeting professionals to transition through this, because I believe that we're not getting a top down mandate of how to solve this issue. I do not believe that. I believe we are going to move forward by coming together, by sharing best practices, by helping, by collaborating, by communicating. And so that's why I wanted to create that. And I think that for for everyone here, please communicate. Let me know what you need. Let Marlys know what you need, because that is how we're going to move forward.

[00:06:43.510] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and I like how you brought up the collaborating. And by the way, speaking of let us know. Go ahead. If you've got questions, if you've got comments, type those in. Heather is happy to answer questions as we go along. But I like that you brought up the collaboration because that's something I've heard other people talking about, how now is not the time to feel threatened or to try to just blaze trails on your own, but it's the time to work together.

[00:07:08.860] - Marlys Arnold

So what are some examples of how how do you see that? How can we work together and move forward?

[00:07:17.110] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

OK, that's an excellent question, because and like you said, I love how you put it, because when we clutch and we hold on because we're thinking, oh, there's a limited amount of resources, limited opportunities. So people tend humans tend to hold on to what they have. But you're actually going to be more successful in this environment if you release and stop holding tight to things, release you, share your ideas, and it creates space for more ideas and opportunities to come to you.

[00:07:47.500] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

I have seen time and time again where people are coming together. They're having these conversations, they're finding those connections, the common ground that they have and they're building partnerships because we're not really you know, people use the phrase, when is it? Is the industry going to come back? It's not going to look like it was before.

[00:08:09.740] - Marlys Arnold


[00:08:10.050] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

That's ok, right. We need to be open to it, looking differently. And it may be even better, but we can only do that when we expand our minds and our opportunity to create new things. And so some of the people in the Phoenix are actually building new businesses based on skills, two completely different skill sets where the people are coming together. They're working together to create a solution for our clients out there. And that's what we have to do. We have to find solutions so that we can get creative and we can continue to serve.

[00:08:48.460] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and that it is true, I think that the innovation quotient, I guess you could call it, has gone way up this year. I mean, that's where virtual lunch came from. I started this in March because I thought, well, let's just do something and try to be a support group, a support network for the industry. So that's where this came about. There's been so many virtual conferences and, you know, talks and things that have come about, you know, it's just it's really fun to watch the creativity coming out. But like you said, I think it's going to be the people, all of us working together to rebuild this industry because partly because not that there's anything wrong with some of the industry associations and things, but there's not like one there's not one entity that's going to say, OK, here's how meetings are going to be.

[00:09:41.320] - Marlys Arnold

And that's what last week we did the recap of the Together Again Expo. That was a great example of a group of people working together and coming together to try to define what the new world of meetings and trade shows is going to look like. So let's talk a little bit. We've been focused a lot on, you know, leading within the industry. What about within our own individual companies or being a leader to our clients and our prospects?

[00:10:12.640] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

I love this. This is an excellent question. And I think that that comes back to where we actually began leading from the inside out. So I'm going to take a step back. And then I promise to answer your specific question about leading within your companies.

[00:10:25.810] - Marlys Arnold


[00:10:25.810] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Leading our own lives, I think is really, really important, because there's this temptation to allow the negativity or allow the isolation or these feelings to, like I had mentioned in the beginning, in fact, us and we have to lead by by choosing to own what is going on in our world, even if it appears as if it's external to us when we take back control of what we actually control, which is what we think about it, how we how we feel about it and how we respond, the the behaviors that we have, the choices that we make after this external thing happens that's leading from the inside out.

[00:11:08.140] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

And when you can do that, when you can choose because bad things happen every day. We know that. You know that. But good things happen

[00:11:14.860] - Marlys Arnold

Especially this year.

[00:11:16.000] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

, over and over and over, when you choose to find the humor, when you can choose to find what's positive, when you can choose to focus on the solutions or the beautiful moments. I have had incredible deep relationships building being built based upon this. So when you find that, now I'm getting to your answer, when you can find that and leading your own life, then that confidence, that positive energy that we can do this together attitude translates to your organization and people clients are going to be attracted to that because our energy can repel people and it can attract people and we get to choose what happens.

[00:12:03.100] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Right. And so there are people out there and I know you've come across them, you're not one of them, but you've come across them. These are these people that they don't even know they're doing it, but they're walking around with this energy that makes you want to run and hide. Right. And they're wondering why they're not getting any opportunities. Why am I not getting a job offer? Why am I not getting new business? Because your energy is screaming, don't do business with me. So come back to the fact that you get to choose, you have responsibility for it. And when you do that, you'll be like a beacon for your team members, for your clients, and they're going to want to do business with you.

[00:12:42.440] - Marlys Arnold

I love that and the people that have the negative energy, Alan and I call them Eeyore, you know, because it is it's like, you know, Eeyore. Oh, it's a horrible day, you know, and it's like there are several. You see them all the time in social media, too.

[00:13:01.940] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Yes you probably do, you know. And it's OK. Let me just put this out there. For those people who are looking to make connections through social media, you can you can put it out there, your vulnerability, the challenges that you're having. But you need to show them that you're learning the lesson, that you're finding the silver lining, that you're doing the right things despite these challenges that are happening for you. And that will still attract people. I'm not saying you have to act like everything is great.

[00:13:27.590] - Marlys Arnold


[00:13:28.310] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

You can be vulnerable, but come from that place of strength and confidence so that people want to be around you because they know that that is going to rub off on them.

[00:13:41.450] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and I've seen some good examples of that, too, I've seen people who are like, OK, this is what happened to me and here's what I'm trying to do, or can you help me or do you have any resources or those kinds of things? So it's not it's not, like you said, just painting the rosy picture of I have this beautiful, perfect life because we all know better.

[00:14:03.560] - Marlys Arnold

There's nobody having a perfect life this year. But like you said, being able to be vulnerable and to be open and honest and authentic. And I think sometimes, honestly, I think that that is more relatable to your clients and your prospects than if you do look, you know, like you've got it all together. If you look like you've got some challenges or maybe you stumbled and then people are like, oh, I can relate to that. I like her.

[00:14:32.450] - Marlys Arnold

I like him because he seems real. So and I love Matthew's comment here. Your vibe attracts your tribe. I love that. That's our quote of the day.

[00:14:41.720] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Love that, that's awesome, it's so true. And you know what? You when we're conscious about that, when we're conscious about who we're spending time with, like you guys, Matthew, you choose to show up here today because you know that Marlys has amazing information. She's got great energy and she brings on experts in the industry. Right. So you know that this is where you want to be because you want to absorb that and you want to take it out into the world and be better for your clients. And you have a choice today of what to do with this hour of your time. And you made an excellent choice. Right.

[00:15:15.290] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

But you also we there are people in our lives and I don't want to I don't want to go on and on about this, but there are people who we may even may even be related to or really close to ... shhh, don't want to say anything . Alan we don't mean you by the way, you're rocking your new lifestyle. Keep it going. That's outstanding. You look fantastic. And I love that you use the word lifestyle because I talk a lot about creating new habits and patterns.

[00:15:43.970] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Right. Because we have to release the patterns and habits that don't work for us and create new ones. And when you use the word lifestyle, what you're doing is you're instilling that this is a new way of being. This is a new pattern that you're going to have and that creates consistency in your success, in your results.

[00:16:02.810] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and that's true in leadership as well. It becomes a lifestyle and a pattern and and habits like the quote that I put up earlier, that it's it's the habits and the things that you're willing to do, that the unsuccessful person is not. So what we're getting ready to wrap up here. So what is something I know it's like this half hour goes so fast, but what what else have we not talked about today that you think is a really important point for people at this point in our industry to understand?

[00:16:35.690] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

So I would say to go back to. Control, right, so you can't control everything, so what can you control? Like, what are the things, the actions that you can take that can help move you forward? Because, you know, when you understand where you are and you really hone in on what your gifts are, what your skills are, what your company unique selling proposition is, when you know that when you're you're really familiar with it, you're living it and you know where you want to go. Then you can build a bridge there. And I see people right now they're scattered. They're taking, they're trying to build a little bridge over here, a little bridge over here, a little bridge over here, a little bridge over here.

[00:17:24.870] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

And they're not making any headway toward actually achieving the results that they want. So once you really know who you are. And that way you can differentiate yourself from others in the industry. Once you know that and then you know where you want to go, you keep taking those actions along that same path toward that goal. And you're going to get there so much faster than when you're out there just trying, trying, trying, trying all these different things. I think that's important to recognize right now.

[00:17:55.710] - Marlys Arnold

That's a good point, that's a good point, and I know I'm guilty of that, too, because I'm an idea person. So I've got nine million ideas and I'm trying to run and chase after all of them. But it's true. It's like if you only get two planks on each bridge built, you're never going to get across the river.

[00:18:10.110] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

You know what Marlys. I just want to bring this up for you because I am you, right? So I'm an idea person and I like at three o'clock in the morning these things are like flooding my brain and I want to do them all.

[00:18:21.600] - Marlys Arnold


[00:18:21.600] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

And yea right, they're exciting or we can do them all, but not all at the same time.

[00:18:26.970] - Marlys Arnold


[00:18:26.970] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

So recording these great ideas has been really helpful for me to be able to release them for right now so I can focus on what's important right now. And then, because I'm a wide, big vision person, I have to surround myself with how people people who know how to implement and help me implement my vision because I embrace my whyness, my vision, and then to have other people help along the way to get to where we need to go together. It's about being doing this together.

[00:18:58.500] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and that goes back to the whole leading by collaborating and building bridges together, because one person building a bridge is a lot harder than having a team building a bridge. Right!?

[00:19:08.820] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Exactly. One hundred percent.

[00:19:11.220] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and I want to share to just you were talking about all the ideas. One tool that I found, I use a tool called Plutio, but it's very similar to Trello. Yeah. And there's a lot of other different kinds of tools out there. But using that is just like an idea compositor where you just throw all those ideas in there and just keep them, keep track of them all that way and then start working on them one at a time or five at a time maybe.

[00:19:35.950] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

I know ... down to one Marlys. Three, three is a good number.

[00:19:40.470] - Marlys Arnold

Three. Three. OK I'll narrow it to three, but so, you know, finding a way like that that you can keep things organized and and and moving ahead and building those bridges I think is an important thing. And I know you have a wonderful tool that you're providing for everybody today. So tell us about that. And Alan's going to put that link up as well.

[00:20:01.630] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

Well, thank you, Alan. So I have something called post pandemic's sales strategies for the exhibit marketers here. So what we're doing is I'm giving you a checklist of the different ways that you want to think about the different ways that you want to move your body. That will help the different ways actions that you can take. So a checklist of different things that will help you if you happen to want to increase your sales in this atmosphere. Right now, it's free. It's for you. You can check that out there. And if you do have any other questions after that, I'm an open door so you can email me or find me on LinkedIn, ask me a question any time. Happy to help out, because that's what we have to do. Right?

[00:20:48.180] - Marlys Arnold

Well, and I love that that you put that together. So thank you very much for doing that. And I did get a sneak peek at it. It's got a great list of tips and ideas on there, ideas starters for you to help in the future as we move forward, as all of us try to figure our way out of all of this. So, Heather, thank you so much for sharing your time today, coming to the cafe.

[00:21:11.790] - Marlys Arnold

And I see it doesn't look like we have any other questions at this point. So I'm just going to say thank you so much. Thanks to everyone who joined us today. And I know all of you are wonderful leaders and you have all kinds of ideas and capabilities and skills. And together we are all going to come out the other side and we are going to rebuild and re-innovate and reinvent the trade show and events industries. So, Heather, thank you again for being such a great guest today in the cafe.

[00:21:44.460] - Heather Hansen O'Neill

I appreciate it.

[00:21:52.340] - Marlys Arnold

You can find all the links mentioned during this interview in this episode, show notes at TradeShowInsights.com. And if you'd like to join us for an upcoming weekly virtual lunch, you'll find information on that at ExhibitMarketersCafe.com/lunch.

[00:22:20.130] - Marlys Arnold

If you enjoyed today's episode and would like more, you can subscribe to the podcast and automatically receive future episodes on your chosen device, simply search for Trade Show Insights in Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or virtually anywhere else that podcasts are found and then click the subscribe button. Trade Show Insights is protected by the Creative Commons copyright license, you may feel free to share this recording with colleagues or embedded on your own blog as long as it's shared in its entirety and is not used for commercial purposes. To learn more, please see the link in the sidebar, the show notes at TradeShowInsights.com. Well, that's it for this episode of Trade Show Insights. Be sure to check out our show notes and archives at TradeShowInsights.com. You can also connect with me using the social media links or contact page on the site.

[00:23:15.830] - Marlys Arnold

I'm Marlys Arnold. Thanks for listening. And be sure to join us next time for more tools to improve your exhibit results.


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